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Preview: Columbus Crew v. New York Red Bulls

Three straight losses have the Crew headed towards missing the playoffs. Any hope starts tonight.


The losses are piling up, but the Crew have a two game home stand to try and right things.

The Lineup: Robert Warzycha is unlikely to make any changes. He's tried just about every combination.

Lampson; Williams, O'Rourke, Marshall, Viana; Sanchez, Trapp, Anor; Higuain, Oduro, Arrieta

Crew on Offense: The allure of the 4-3-1-2 was obvious. It gets Jairo Arrieta and Dominic Oduro on the field at the same time, but it actually unbalanced the team in Houston. Federico Higuain was at his best when he moved side to side. The midfield was a problem at best. The three man group was often too spread out trying to provide width that the wingbacks were unable to provide.

Instead it might be time to entertain an unbalanced 4-4-2, but with Arrieta and Oduro starting at forward. Whither Higuain? Line him up at left midfield as a slashing attacker. He can still play make, but he can also run at people.

It's unlikely to happen as the team sees Higuain as "the creator", but lightening his duties and forcing the rest of the team to look to make their own plays may be a case of the sum is greater than the parts.

Crew on Defense: Thierry Henry is still a key part of the Red Bull attack. He is still a sublime passer and finisher even if his pace has ebbed away. He's crafty, drifting all over the field. A player like him presents issues for a zonal defense. Wil Trapp and Chad Marshall to a lesser degree will be instrumental in organizing the two lines.

New York is on a roll because the rest of the offense has come around. The streaky Fabian Espindola is scoring and Lloyd Sam is pushing for a starting role with his recent play. Dax McCarty, Jonny Steele, and Tim Cahill are providing goals from midfield. This is a well rounded attacking unit.

Final Walkthrough: The Crew will have to limit the Red Bulls chances. Good luck. They have depth on attack and are clinical in front of goal. The defense is the weak spot, but the Crew haven't even tested lesser defenses in recent weeks.

Crew 1 - New York 2